FIFA World Cup: USA, Wales Tie As The Rule Book is Rewritten

By | November 22, 2022

In professional tournament soccer, there are two periods of 45 minutes each, plus a little extra for any stoppages. FIFA apparently decided to create its own version of a clock with the World Cup, showing that the soccer organization seems happy to make up the rules as it goes along.

USMNT vs. Wales
Wales national soccer team player Gareth Bale (left) and the USMNT’s Walker Zimmerman skid to a stop on the grass during their Monday Groups game. The game ended in a tie after the US took an early lead. (Image: Getty Images)

The US and Wales drew 1-1 on the first day of the Group B of the contest on Monday. Timothy Weah opened the scoring early for the Americans, while Gareth Bale evened things up in the second period off of an unnecessary penalty shot.

The US Men’s National Team (USMNT) had a couple of opportunities to once again capture the lead, thanks to FIFA. Instead of 90-minute games, it’s telling referees to add up to 10 minutes of additional play to the clock.

Stars and Stripes Start Strong

The US team came out strong, deploying its attacking forwards with speed. However, the team often seemed hesitant to take any shots.

Then, Weah received a pass in the void and, with the tip of the cleat, put the USMNT up 1-0. It was the first time since the US met Belgium in the 2014 World Cup that they scored a goal.

The US team, who were the favorites to win, kept control and put pressure on Wales to respond. The Dragons had chances to tie the game, but US goalkeeper Matt Turner kept every attempt out of the net. That ended at minute 82, though, when the referee called a penalty and Bale turned it into a goal.

As the clock wound down, another nine minutes suddenly appeared in extra time, giving the two squads additional opportunities to try and deliver a fatal blow. They tried, but failed. Wales finished with three shots on target, while the US had just one, despite finishing with more ball possession at 58.7%.

Next up, the USMNT faces England this Friday, while Wales will face Iran that same day. The Three Lions left no doubt about their intentions in their opener against Iran, controlling the ball 80% of the time. That led to an indisputable 6-2 win and a taste of what’s coming for both the US and Wales on Friday.

FIFA Changes the Rules (Again)

FIFA told athletes that they couldn’t wear anything that displays “political, religious, or personal messages or slogans” on their uniforms because that’s against the rules. The rules also say that each period of the game will be 45 minutes. But FIFA decided it doesn’t need to enforce rules that counter its agenda.

FIFA, which just signed Betano as an official gambling sponsor, has apparently told referees to add more time to the clocks at the end of the periods because it wants to increase the entertainment value of the games. That didn’t prove effective at the Qatar-Ecuador game, as almost all of the fans left before the game ended.

The BBC reported that the first four games in the World Cup resulted in 65 extra minutes of playing time. The most spectacular was England vs. Iran (6-2), which lasted more than 117 minutes. Fourteen of these were added to the end of the first half, although part of that was because of injury.

Extra time for injury is one thing; extra time that causes injury is something else. At the end of the USA-Wales match, Qatari referee Abdulrahman Al-Jassim announced an additional nine minutes.

During this time, several players fell to the ground and were treated for cramps. That only prompted the referee to add even more time.

England coach Gareth Southgate isn’t excited about the changes. Soccer players practice and play all year based on a 90-minute clock. While they all expect a few extra minutes, adding even more because FIFA allegedly wants to squeeze more out of the games puts the players’ health in jeopardy.

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